argument top image

Should doping be allowed in sport?
Back to question

Doping would remove many financial barriers to elite level sport

There are currently many financial barriers preventing competitors with fewer resources from reaching the elite level. Allowing doping would remove many of these financial barriers and make professional sport more accessible to everyone.
< (4 of 7) Next argument >


Consider three nations Olympic teams that are preparing their aerobic athletes for the upcoming Olympic games. Two have access to a large pot of funding while the third operates on a limited budget. The first team takes its athletes to altitude, at a significant expense, to prepare for the games. Training at altitude forces the release more EPO and growing more blood red cells, which improves performance. The second team also has a large budget. Instead of taking their athletes to altitude, they buy a $7,000 hypoxic air machine and tent. This allows their athletes to enjoy the same effects of training at altitude. The third team can afford none of these methods. Their team has to rely on training and nutrition alone.

The Argument

In the example provided, the two wealthy teams had an advantage afforded by their wealth. If doping were permitted, the third team could have had its athletes take Epogen, which could be procured for around $122 a month per athlete. It would have had a similar effect to training at altitude and using a hypoxic air machine. However, it is a banned substance. On a smaller scale, performance-enhancing drugs can be used to offset the competitive advantages afforded by wealthy backgrounds and access to increased funding, thereby bringing the realm of professional sport within reach to a wider set of the population and promoting success based on merit as opposed to access to resources.[1]

Counter arguments

Permitting doping would not remove the financial barriers to entering professional sport, it would just move them. Teams would merely divert spending from training methods to drugs. The increased demand for performance enhancing drugs would prompt pharmaceutical companies to charge a premium for their product, and the highest quality drugs would only be accessible to those with deep enough pockets. Therefore, allowing doping would keep the same financial barriers to professional sport intact, but merely shift them from training methods to drug acquisition.


[P1] Money buys success in sport. [P2] Therefore, wealthier people and countries are more likely to succeed in professional sport. [P3] Doping and the acceptability of affordable performance enhancing drugs can offset the competitive advantage gained by financial wealth. [P4] Therefore, doping can remove some of the financial barriers to entering professional sport.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 16:51 UTC

Explore related arguments